Well, obviously all of the SNP are constitutionally obsessed separatists with no regard for other issues. But they do have one big advantage, the Yes campaign have something that unites them despite their radicallly different views on what happens after independence. Apparently it will be Scandanavian style social democracy with very low tax rates to stimulate business and a haven of freedom where you can’t criticise religious types for arguing against the government treating gay people equally. But that’s ok, they just need to hold together long enough to get to the line and it’s such a strong part of their identity that they’ll probably manage to hold it together long enough for the ballots to get counted.

Over on the other side of the fence, despite being regularly lumped together as “the Unionists”, those of us who oppose independence are similarly divided about everything other than independence. Labour disagree with Tories, Tories disagree with Lib Dems, Lib Dems disagree with Labour…

If, from a Nationalist perspective, Unionism looks incoherent, disorganised or lacking leadership that’s because it isn’t really a thing. Unionism just isn’t a widely held political philosophy in the way that nationalism is, and it hasn’t been for the better part of half a century. Demands that we produce a single agreed on line For The Defence Of The Union mostly meet with a confused look and shrug of the shoulders because there is no “we”.  Despite what’s commonly assumed there isn’t a secret Unionist conclave with decoder rings, complicated handshakes and a fraternal greeting of “Hail, fellow North Briton!” where we plot to keep the freeborn folk of Scotland servile to our London masters. Well, maybe there is, but I certainly haven’t been invited to join it.

Fortunately nobody’s going to be defending that. Yeah, ok, there’s a few loons who want to roll back devolution, but that’s rather to ignore that both the Scottish and British constitutions are evolving beasts and Holyrood’s here to stay a while. The real dividing line is how much further devolution is going to, with some wanting Full Fiscal Autonomy, others saying “this far and no further”. Malcolm Chisholm has a well written piece on the other place on this, the Lib Dems want a federal UK… there’s a range of options.

I actually think there might be a few too many options. Which is why I’m opposed to independence really – it offers no time for review, post referendum negotiations will necessarily get things wrong and we’ll have to live with consequences. We can’t go back from independence. Once it’s done it’s done, renegotiating our position on cross border institutions such as the Bank of England, the DVLA and whatever else we share will be difficult.

Devolution, on the other hand, does allow for that. Powers can be moved around as appropriate,some pushed from Holyrood to Councils, some from Westminster to Holyrood, some from Westminster to Brussels. But if, for some reason, that doesn’t work out or circumstances change then devolution can be reviewed, revised and altered.

But being opposed to large, rapid, irreversible change isn’t, as I said, a political philosophy. It’s not a shared prism through which we analyse politics, like Nationalism, Socialism, Liberalism and Conservatism are.

Just because Unionism isn’t a coherent political philosophy shouldn’t cheer those in favour of independence too much though. There’s a coherent, convincing case to be made for staying in the union – shared defence and commercial interests for instance, and also one against independence as both a process, outlined above, and a promise: Scotland’s problems are not a result of our constitutional arrangements. Becoming independent will not solve those problems, and remaining part of the UK will not prevent us from solving them.

ETA: this isn’t meant to be a grand “Defence of the Union” post, it isn’t even really about devolution vs independence, it’s about why very few people bind themselves together under the “Unionist” label